South African Trade Gap Widens Sharply to 9-Month High

South Africa trade deficit increased to ZAR 21.39 billion in October of 2015 from an upwardly revised ZAR 1.26 billion shortfall in the previous month and way above market expectations. It was the highest trade gap since January this year, as exports fell 6 percent while imports jumped 15.7 percent.

Exports shrank by ZAR 5.49 billion or 6 percent to ZAR 86.35 billion, mainly due to lower sales of vegetable products (-36 percent), precious metals and stones (-19 percent), vehicles and transport equipment (-9 percent) and mineral products (-6 percent). By contrast, shipments of machinery and electronics went up by 6 percent. South African exports major destinations were China (9.7 of total exports), the US (7.4 percent), Germany (7.2 percent), Namibia (6 percent) and Japan (5.3 percent).

Imports increased by ZAR 14.64 billion or 15.7 percent to ZAR 107.74 billion, as vehicle and transport equipment rose by 45 percent. Also, purchases of machinery and electronics went up by 19 percent; of mineral products expanded by 17 percent; and of chemical products grew 16 percent. Meanwhile, imports of vegetable products contracted strongly by 45 percent. The main sources of imports to the country were China (21.1 percent of total imports), Germany (11.4 percent), the US (6.9 percent), India (4.6 percent) and Japan (3.6 percent).

So far this year, the trade deficit narrowed 37.6 percent to ZAR 59.39 billion compared to ZAR 95.14 billion a year earlier. 

Excluding trade with neighboring Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, the country posted a ZAR 31.22 billion deficit in October. 

South African Trade Gap Widens Sharply to 9-Month High

South African Revenue Service | Joana Ferreira |
11/30/2015 12:30:24 PM